Most people know that diversity in their organizations is important. That is, most people have a vague sense that more diversity on their teams would lead to more innovation, higher creativity, stronger engagement, etc. But did you also know that more diversity leads to increased revenue, EBITA, Return on Equity, and a host of other standard business performance metrics? Diversity is good. Our challenge is not in the knowing. Our challenge is in the knowing…Read More
Take a moment to think about all of the change that has taken place since you were born. Not just the technological change (from computers the size of small cars to exponentially more powerful devices weighing mere ounces), but also the social, scientific, and cultural progress that has occurred in the last several decades.
Now consider the Acheulean hand axe. The always-excellent podcast, 99% Invisible, released an insightful show this week looking at this primitive stone tool.Read More
Working together is hard. Running an effective meeting can be even harder. One of the challenges is that everyone wants to be heard. To make it even more challenging, not everyone speaks up.
Setting a few ground rules is one of the surest ways to get everyone engaged while producing amazing results. Let it be known that you expect full engagement and everyone to be pulling in the same direction. My favorite set of ground rules comes out of the “New Games” movement from the 70’s. Their motto was Play Hard. Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. I can’t think of a better set of guiding principles for great meetings and vibrant teams.Read More
Success can be finicky. For those who have made it big, the real reasons for their success are rarely the things they remember and write about. The building blocks of success are always much more subtle and nuanced.
This is where mentors come in.
In our quest for growth, progress, and success, we have this latent desire for someone who will take us under their wing and co-pilot our journey from the mailroom to the corner office. Or, more realistically, we imagine a relationship with a mentor who meets with us once or twice a month over a long period of time and imparts wisdom like a college professor working through a syllabus.
It doesn't work that way.Read More
“Continuous Improvement” is a mantra for just about all areas of our businesses and — if we’re ambitious — our lives. Companies make huge investments in everything from lean manufacturing to agile software development knowing that the best way to make things better is through steady and continual improvement. We reengineer our business processes to have feedback loops so we can learn from what we have done and build on those learnings.
Learn. Improve. Repeat.
It’s a no-brainer, right? The relentless pursuit of perfection, as Lexus would say. Everything is fair game. Nothing is exempt from the beneficent outcomes of continuous improvement…
Well, almost nothing.Read More
"The only way to change the world is through strong organizations. No visionary leader, no charismatic leader can change the world unless they know how to build an organization and a team around them."
— Sally Blount, Dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
We all need a livelihood. For most of us, that means going to work at companies and in organizations. Unfortunately, too many of those organizations manage to suck the life out of us. It doesn't have to be this way. I kick off 2014 with a call to put an end to the dysfunction and the insanity. Dilbert has been published since 1989. Why haven't our organizations evolved at all in the last 24 years? Why is it still funny?
Join me in making 2014 the year of building great organizations.Read More
Happy New Year!
As the holidays wrap up this week, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead.
A cycle of annual and quarterly planning sets the strategy that you execute with a weekly and daily rhythm. You think ‘big picture’ and chart your course broadly at the beginning of the year. Then, on a quarterly basis, you make more specific plans that help you reach those ‘big picture’ goals.
Next, every week you lay out specific activities that you are going to work on, and finally, every day you identify tasks that must be done.Read More
I love to hike. There is something deeply satisfying in loading a few provisions into a backpack and heading off into the hills. I have had the good fortune of hiking in the Colorado Rockies as well as the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Hiking is both an exhausting and exhilarating activity. The pack is heavy and rarely comfortable. The trail is often steep, the terrain rocky. There are times when each step is a slog. You make progress by keeping your head down and putting one foot in front of the other again and again. You find your stride.
Eventually, it’s time for a break. You reach a vista where you loosen your pack and refresh yourself with water. And then you look up. The view is amazing. Looking back, it’s hard to believe how far you’ve traveled. Looking ahead, you see the path clearly in front of you. You catch your breath, revel in your progress, affirm your course, and don the pack for another march.
The rhythm of productivity follows a similar path.Read More
Think back to the last time you were at a wedding — or any event with a dance floor. There was no shortage of well-meaning people encouraging the wallflowers, “Come on … get out on the dance floor … it’ll be fun … you’ll have a good time.”
In our Western culture we just assume that everyone can dance. But when you look at the people on the dance floor you will see a wide spectrum of skill. There will be some who are excellent dancers, with a total command of their body and the room.
At the other end of the spectrum, there will be a few who can’t dance at all and are just flailing in loose approximation to the rhythm of the music. And then there will be people who think that they are good dancers but, in all honesty, are not.
And so it is with networking.Read More
Do you struggle to be productive? At the end of the day does it feel like there are more items on your ToDo list than there were at the beginning of the day?
There is no end to the articles and blogs and tools and apps that aim to help you be more productive. Many of them are even good. But in some ways, they’re all a bit of distraction for the task at hand: getting stuff done.
Being productive is hard. If it was easy — if an app could solve your problem — we wouldn’t see the proliferation of articles and blogs and tools and apps.
Personal productivity is a Holy Grail: Many pursue it. Few seem to find it.Read More
Heather Hollick has been helping others become better leaders and craft more meaningful careers for more than 25 years. Her experience spans both business and technology, operations and organizational development. Oh, and she was born in Canada, so she can't help but be helpful. 😉